March 15, 2010 in Nation/World

3 with U.S. ties killed in Mexico

Calderon vows swift investigation
Kevin G. Hall McClatchy
 

High civilian toll

Civilians have increasingly gotten caught in drug gang violence that has made Ciudad Juarez one of the deadliest cities in the world, with more than 2,500 people killed last year alone. At least 11 people were killed there over the weekend.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Mexican government pledged Sunday to investigate the brutal killings of a U.S. consulate employee and two family members of consulate employees in a violent, drug-plagued metropolis across from the Texas border city of El Paso.

The Mexican government and officials in the border state of Chihuahua confirmed the shooting deaths Saturday of an American woman who worked at the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, along with her husband, also a U.S. citizen. The husband of another employee of the U.S. consulate also was killed in a separate shooting Saturday.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon condemned the attacks and promised a full investigation by his government and to increase security in Juarez, a city of 1.5 million that’s become one of the world’s most violent and dangerous because of the drug trade.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose department oversees consular employees, said the U.S. would work with the Mexican government to find and punish those responsible.

“The safety and security of our personnel and their families in Mexico and at posts around the world is always our highest priority,” Clinton said, adding the State Department would “do everything necessary to protect our people and to ensure that the perpetrators of these horrendous acts are brought to justice.”

Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said President Barack Obama “shares in the outrage of the Mexican people at the murders of thousands in Ciudad Juarez and elsewhere in Mexico.”

Killed were consular employee Lesley A. Enriquez, 35, and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs, 34, according to Robert Cason, Redelfs’ stepfather.

Their baby was found unharmed in the back seat, said Vladimir Tuexi, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state prosecutors’ office. Tuexi, who estimated the child was about 1 year old, said the child was in the custody of Mexican social services.

There were no initial reports as to why the three were killed, but statements from the Mexican government and the White House suggested drug traffickers in Ciudad Juarez, one of the most violent and dangerous cities on the planet, were to blame.

Associated Press contributed to this report.


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